Mary S.W. Pollard diaries | 1946-52

MSWP (& FEP) diaries

Diary, 1946–52

by Mary S.W. Pollard

 

Key

NB If a name is not listed in the key the person concerned has not yet been identified.

1888–92

1893–95

1896–98

1897 (FEP)

1896–99

1899–1900

1901

1903

1904 (with FEP)

1904–07

1907–10

1911

1910–15

1915–20

1920–22

1922–26

1926–29

1930–36

1936–37

1938

1939

1940

1941–42

1942–46

1946–52

1950–58

1958–61

1946

June

5. Cottage by bus—buses now every hour. What a change! Erica, etc. are going there for Whitsun.

8. Sat. Victory Day celebrations—shops closed. Poured, but tremendous doings in London. F. and I in evening to cottage. Saw Erica and baby William and just saw Godfrey. All so nice. Saw Stella next day at Meeting.

10. Whit Monday. Not good day. F. and I alone.

11. Tues. F. and I by 1.20 from L. St. to Saffron Walden. Sandwiches. Met before 4.0 by Marg., Jonathan, Jeremy and 2 little "Goods" (the boarders). We went to ‘Rose and Crown’ with M. and Jeremy and the others went home. After tea, we went to Sunflowers—all 7 children (one a Dutch girl) were at tea presided over by Marg. It was a lovely sight. She manages extraordinarily well, for she has no help at all. The 2 Goods pay £2.10.0 but she gets no pay for the Dutch child. We spent the evening there—the children go to bed in couples, except Rowland who is last. Nice bedroom at hotel (very old place) and thankful to put on gas fire (9/- bed and breakfast plus 10% service).

12. Still cold. Spent day with Marg.

13. F. to London to Committee. I stay at M’s—garden wonderful. Warm in aft. and she and I and some of the children to the Friends’ School. Exhibition good. Tea at 5.0 and I left reluctantly by 6.6 train—got home about ¼ to 10. Raining. May has been fearfully wet and cold, and so is June. Sad to think it is probably our last visit to that pretty home. M. sweet and children loving and jolly.

17. Nice aft. at Guildford.

22. At last the weather is warmer. May and June have been awful.

Sat. Ruth and S. and the children arrived in our car from Bournemouth at teatime. They have been there for a fortnight.

(Just before this I got my ‘plate’ altered and it fits better now. I’ve had a good deal of bother altogether.)

23. Sun. Caro and Joe arrived in evening. Exciting to have so many of the family here. C. in good spirits—has loved Scotland.

24. Joe demobilized and very happy, like Sidney, to be so.

25. All but F. went to the cottage—I drove one car there, Joe the other. Lovely day—meals out. Julia went to sleep in a bed; she is so good. S. and Joe cut the grass. Poor Ruth had hay fever badly.

26. F. and I to H.R. Smith’s at 30 Northcourt Av. Book Club. "Forgeries". R. and S. to cinema and supper out and Joe and C. stayed here. The week went quickly—we had great fun together and played games in the evenings. C. so good with the children. Weather v. showery, but the Becks with the children and I got nearly 1 hour on the river one day.

28. Friday. Joe kindly took the Becks home in his car in afternoon. F. and I to Speech day at L.P. Mrs. Castle’s report v. interesting. Harold Nicolson on British Foreign Policy. Gym. on lawn v. good. Austerity tea—just tea and buns!

29. F. to Peace Committee at Hayward’s Heath. C. and Joe in aft. to cottage to stay. Piles of luggage!

July

3rd. Perfect day at cottage with C. and Joe. F. came home yesterday, and came with me to cottage. Quantities of raspberries.

6th. Sat. C. and Joe here for day. Had baths. They and I spent aft. making jam and bottling fruit. V. tiring, and next week I suffered much from my back.

8th. Monday. C. and Joe went to London to see specialist who hurt her a good deal.

9th. Lovely weather. F. and I to cottage. C. in bed, but got up later. Busy picking fruit. Masses of cherries, rasps. and blackcurrants.

10th. F. in London. Joe telephoned that C. poorly—had nice Dr. Wynne Thomas. Afraid of miscarriage. She has to lie in bed for a week. V. worrying.

11th. I to cottage. Poor Caro in bed and the weather is perfect. Joe had an appointment in London, so I looked after C. He returned at 7 p.m. She is so good and uncomplaining.

13th. F. and I to cottage in aft. Dr. came. C. slightly better. Joe looks after her splendidly, cooks, has made jam (without scales!) and picks the fruit for us and really works too hard. I do admire him. Before she was ill he did a lot to the garden. Joyse went to Shiplake on the 12th for a fortnight and has most kindly lent her wireless to Caro.

14th. Paul Castle and a Greek boy to tea.

16th. Raining. I woke with bad headache (but back much better) and managed to go to cottage in morning. C. a bit better. I got there about 10. a.m. and they hadn’t had breakfast, having slept till 9.30! I came back to dinner as much to do.

18th. Wed. Ruth brought Daniel and Julia in morning. I met them with car. She went away in aft. and she and S. are going to Heugh Folds to-morrow for a fortnight. The children were extremely good and sweet—Daniel slept in spare room and Julia in C’s room and only once did I have to go into her in the night and she never cried when put to bed either morning or evening. But the first week was a bit tiring, as F. and I had them all to ourselves and my back wasn’t right.

On 23rd I had attach of diarrhoea in night and F. did not feel very well, but fortunately we recovered.

Frank and Mary Pollard at the cottage, July 1946

Frank and Mary Pollard at the cottage, July 1946

On 19th F. and I took children to cottage to dinner—home to tea. They enjoying seeing C. and Joe, but C. still has to be very careful. Julia had her morning sleep in bed and made no fuss, she is only about 1½ years old. Came back to tea. It is awkward that D. sleeps in aft. and J. in morning.

On 24th. Beatrice came to help and children took to her at once, happily. It is much easier for F. and me not having them sleeping in our room. B. had to go to London again on 25th but returned that night and on

Sat. 27th we all went to cottage in aft. and had tea in garden. C. a lot better.

28th. I got to Meeting at last. The Mann(?) Robsons recently left Reading. I am very sorry.

29th. B. had to go home yesterday as Rob. not well. Aft (28th) we took children in car to Caversham Lock.

31st. S. and R. got back to London yesterday, after a good time, but terrible weather. R. came early to-day and it was lovely to see her. She took the children back in aft. and I miss them awfully. Daniel is so good (except that he won’t play with other children!) and such a sweet nature, and Julia is a bewitching little thing and can already feed herself, and tries to put on her things.

C. and J. came back from cottage. Have been there over a month.

August 1946

1st. Aft. F. and I to Henley by steamer, supposed to start 5.15 but ½ hr. late and we missed the train back, so came by bus. Nice, but grew chilly.

3rd. Our wedding day 42 years ago. We left by car soon after breakfast for the cottage—our first ‘staying’ visit since war ended. We had a perfect week-end—weather glorious and hot. We gardened a lot, but had good rests—F. in hammock—nice meals, short walk in wood, Eavis’s to coffee one evening. I felt very reluctant to return home, but we came after tea on Tues 6th.

7th. C. and Joe returned from Cambridge in evening. They went to the Liberals Summer School on Aug. 1st.

8th. Moved spare room beds, etc. to Ruth’s old room. C. and J. are going to have the spare room and C’s room.

We got rid of our hens on Aug. 1st (or 2nd) and got 10/- each for them. I quite miss them, but am really thankful to be rid of all the bother.

9th. I washed the hen house (F. and I had taken it to pieces)—a dirty business, and F. and I creosoted it, for Marg. is going to have it. R. and B. came in evening—R. quite worn out.

10th. Poured in morning, but cleared up, though chilly, and R. and B. went off in car, which we are lending them, to have their holiday at the cottage. R. has not been there for over a year I think. He gets up every day at 6.30 and is at the office at 9.0 and has many committees in the evenings, is a J.P and chairman of the Housing Committee etc.

12th–17th. Mrs Tigwall on holiday.

14th. F. and I to cottage by bus. R. and B. took us driving to see a cottage, and then we were going to the Downs, but had forgotten our sandwiches, so had to return to cottage, and then went to a tumulus near Baughurst and ate them there. Then on to Beacon Hill 850 ft. Walked up it, steep. Superb view. The weather has been awful, so we were lucky to have a good day. Back in time for cup of tea before returning home.

21st. C. and J. took us to cottage in their car. We left them there for the day, and R., B., F. and I went in our car to Thatcham. Left it by the canal and walked to Newbury, R. bathing en route. R. had to hurry so as to walk back to get the car, so at one of the locks (after our lunch) F. and I had a rest. Some men in a barge doing repair work, were going to Newbury, and took us part of the way in the barge, 4 men pulling it. It was lovely, so quiet but slow. We met B. at Newbury in the park, and waited a short time for R. who picked us up in the car and took us to cottage and we all had tea in the garden. It was a lovely day One day R. and B. came here (25th). They had over a fortnight there, and in spite of pretty poor weather greatly enjoyed it.

23rd. Rosemary and Jonathan arrived 7.10 p.m. Slept in spare room (Ruth’s old room).

24th. I took them in aft. to Sonning by bus, and we sat by the lock till the steamer came and we returned by it to Reading. It began to drizzle.

26th. J. and C. took R. and J. and myself to Whipsnade. Fortunately fine, though not hot. Wonderful place. Wallaby (kangaroo) hopped about us while we ate our sandwiches. Children loved all the animals and had a ride on the elephant. Home about 7.0.

27th. All to cottage in 2 cars. Got plums and had happy day.

Wet next days.

31st. Jon. Seemed poorly—got Dr. in evening (a locum).

September

1st. Warm, so let J. sit in garden, doing jigsaw, as he seemed better.

2nd. J. and Rosemary were going home, but his temp. 103° before breakfast, so poor R. had to go home alone. Got Dr. Berry who said J. had bronchial pneumonia. V. worrying. He is sleeping in our room, may not get out of bed at all. M. and B. every 4 hrs. Fortunately this suited him and he rapidly improved.

Unhappily C. had to see a specialist in evening to put something right and she was in bed all day (3rd). Joe went to Coventry for few days.

4th. Reg. came in morning and stayed the night. V. nice. J. in bed some days, but as good as gold, and began to do jigsaws etc. Caro lent him lovely books and his reading soon improved. Then Joyse kindly sat with him in afternoons and played games with him. She was a great help.

On Tues. 17th. C. took him home to Swansea. F. and I motored to Fortis Gr. Av. and I stayed 2 nights. F. returned by train. V. nice to hear that Sidney has not got to go to Blackpool and he and R. went to a Prom. while I looked after children. It poured on 18th but lovely to be in this happy home—first time for me with S. living there. Children sweet.

19th. Joe had interview at Foreign Office and came to tea at Ruth’s and we motored home starting after 5.0. Daniel wanted to come and said "I’m afraid I must come to your home." I drove first, traffic awful. Policeman angry with me. Poured. Home at 7.0. S. and R. have been so very kind and spoiling.

20th. Joe to Swansea. I went to Dr. F. about my back which has been very painful; aft. Committee. Evening F. and I to hear Sorensen M.P. but he couldn’t come. Mr. Anstea? V. good on "relations with Russia". Then F. and I had a quiet, restful happy week-end together.

October

10th. Lovely day at Cottage. Dinner and tea out. The Eames’s and Morris’s both spent about a week there.

25th. Friday. F. and I to Swansea by 2.28. Train packed and we had an awful journey, having to stand nearly all the way to Cardiff except for tea. Got to S. ½ hr. late after 7.0. Pouring and bus strike on and our taxi not there. Had to stand in a queue. However when we got to 49 Sketty Park R. warm welcome from Marg., Rowland and Rosemary (in pyjamas) made us recover and lovely supper. It is a very nice house and we had a most delightful visit, and fine weather tho’ cold, nearly all the time. Nice welcome, especially to F. at Meeting. He stayed till 29th—I till Sat. Nov. 2nd. One morning I took Jonathan and Jeremy thro’ the beautiful park to the sea—one day Marg. took us with F. to Mumbles Head. Another day the 3 youngest children, M. and I went to Three Cliffs Bay—went by bus, then walk—Jeremy not yet 3 walked splendidly—had to plodge across the river on the sands, had sandwiches, climbed difficult cliff, then began to rain—bus home. Marg. is really wonderful—all the work, coaching several evenings and now has an allotment.

November

2nd. Taxi as pouring rain. Reg., M., J. and J. saw me off at 2.45. F. met me about 7.30. Joe at Dewsbury = C. had nice supper ready, but told me that Joe has accepted the Bradford living—house and only £300 a year. It is very hard. I felt depressed.

Next week we went to a sale to get furniture for them at Sonning, and on Nov. 11th Mon. they went to Bradford for C. to see the house—Joe has seen it. Poor C. I am sorry for her—she is so keen a Friend and it is all hard for her and she is not the one to do on so little money.

10th. Sun. Ruth rather unexpectedly came for the day. Lovely. She is so sweet and loving. I started a drenching cold on 11th which lasted several days.

Joe and C. stayed 2 nights in Bradford with Mr. and Mrs. Halsworth and it was lovely to get them back again and hear about the house.

15th. Joe and I went to see "Theirs is the glory", a fine film about Arnhem.

19th. I joined the Film Society 10/- per annum and C. came with me to Abbey Gateway. 5 good films and some refreshments in the middle (we didn’t have any). 2 about the "shires", Midlands and Lincolnshire, 1 about Ukrainians in Manitoba, 1 about an up to date mine (coal).

Next 2 weeks very busy helping C. and J. They departed for their new home, 73 St. Enoch’s Rd., Bradford, in pouring rain by car on Sat. Nov. 30th, staying a night with Bill and Kate en route at Nottingham. I could hardly bear to let them go. It has been so lovely having them here. The removers came just after they left in the afternoon.

December

Busy preparing for Xmas. Ruth, Sidney, Daniel and Julia arrived on Saturday 21st in morning. Bitterly cold, and roads icy, so I could not meet them with car. We telephoned for taxi. It was lovely to have them early and Sidney was a great help with the children and with decorations, etc. He and R. slept in Ruth’s old room, Julia in box room, and D. in C’s old room.

22nd. Sun. F., R . and S. went to Meeting.

23rd. C. and Joe arrived in evening by car. Lovely to have them. S. and R. went to a film with Ralph R. in it.

24th. R. and B. arrived for supper. They are sleeping at Terrells. Children sent notes up chimney and we sang carols.

25th. Wed. Xmas Day. Not quite so cold, thank Heaven. We had a simply lovely day without a hitch. Our presents waited for Xmas tree, but we had others at breakfast, and Yule Doos and pork pie. R. and B. came in a bit late. Ruthie helped me with the dinner and C. decorated trifle. The pudding was very nice. All the children brought lots of rations, and Ruthie had made some of her delicious date cakes, and C. brought a cake, R. and B. vegetarian stuff and so on. They are so very kind. We drank healths to Margaret and family etc. Tea, cake looked nice and tasted good, and D. liked the candles. He and Julia had christingles. Then tree and presents, and they were sweet dancing round it and singing carols. Trifle at supper etc.

Boxing Day. Fair. R. and B., S. and R. and Joe went by bus to Reseley and walked with sandwiches to cottage, arriving there 3.40. We—F., C., I and the 2 children went in the 2 cars in aft., lit 2 fires and had tea ready for them in the 2 rooms when they arrived. It absolutely pelted on the way home.

27th. All but Frank and children to pantomime—seats in stalls—gt. fun. "Dick Whittington". Joe got us all into his car coming back!

28th. R. and B. departed early and Joe soon afterwards alas, but C. remained. We took children to Caversham and fed seagulls and 1 swan. The gulls caught the bread while flying.

30th. Ruth and S., and children left in afternoon, Daniel loth to go, and we shall miss them terribly—a perfect Xmas, except that Dales not here too.

31st. C. and I in rain by car to London. I drove there—took Ruth’s chair etc. and brought back things of C’s. Only had few minutes at Fortis Gr. Ave. Poor little D. sobbed when we left. C. drove home and it cleared. Nice lunch at café at Hounslow, and arrived home 2.30!

 

1947

January

1st. F. has begun bad cold.

2nd. C. went back to Bradford via London and I do miss her. I saw her off at Reading. Weather cold and wet.

4th. Sat. Rob had taken seats for us for matinee of Coppelia (ballet) at Covent Garden. F. not well enough to go, but I went in morning, met R. and B. for lunch at Shearn’s, then to Covent Garden. Ruthie came instead of F. Splendid seats in stalls and I loved it all—exquisite. We had tea tog. at Vega and I caught 6.5 home.

F. fairly cheerful.

7th. Nice Liberal Social—about 30 there.

8th. Concert for Eventide Homes. I took Ella. Miss Angele Maguire v. good violinist, and Muriel B. Smith etc.

11th. Sat. To Ruth’s by Southern. F. is not well yet, but has been able to be up all the time and seemed well enough to leave. Got there ¼ to 1.0 and R., Daniel and Julia had just come out of the house to look for me. D. tore up the road shouting ‘Granny’, J. running behind saying "Gan, Gan." They were so sweet and D. said "I want another kiss." First Sunday I had spent there and so nice to see Sidney too. After tea I looked after bairns and put them to bed and R. and S. went to see Ralph in a Priestley play. I had rather a headache and went to bed at 9.0.

12th. Sun. All a walk to Highgate Wood. Heaps of grey squirrels in the trees. After dinner R. and I by bus to Golders Green and called on Elis. Walley. Evening a fellow ex-officer of S’s, Stephen Perry called. Afterwards R., S. and I play Mahjong.

13th. Left after a very happy time—took D. to school and left my train book with him. Home in time for dinner.

14th. F. and I to Film Soc. Saw 3 films "Money", Song of Birds and "Birthday for Timothy".

16th. Book club. Dr. Taylor’s—readings. I read a talk between Trollope and a present-day young man.

17th. Committee Free Church Women.

8th. R. and B. came.

19th. All to Meeting. Mrs. Hutchinson (R. and B’s friend) and 2 German Prisoners of War to tea.

20th. Went to station with R. and B. Has been lovely having them. Washing.

To Pangbourne for new tyre.

Aft. Free Ch. C. Committee.

21st. F. and I to Film "Great Expectations". Good.

22nd. W.I.L. in Council Chamber—Marjorie Nicholson v. interesting on "Colonies". It is bitterly cold weather.

26th. To Meeting in car. Battery done and Jarvis had to tow it back.

27th. Mon. Father saw me off by 11.10 to London, but over ½ hr. late in starting, and only by luck did I just catch the 1.28 to Bradford. Got there after 7.0 and poor Joe had been waiting 1½ hours, as I expected to get an earlier train. Car drove us quickly to the house and C. gave me lovely welcome and delicious meal. Fire in my bedroom. Next 3 days very happy and busy, but cold intense and I never left the house except one tiny walk close to, to shop. Lots of snow. Saw several of their friends and Halsworths to tea and sandwiches one evening. Helped in sewing etc. House coming very nice.

31st. Fri. C. and I left poor Joe and came to Reading by 9.30 train. Not v. warm but got lunch on train 3/6 each. Taxi in London. Arrived home for high tea, but trouble with pipes and kitchen fire had to go out. However it soon got put right, and it is warmer in Reading than most places. Poor Ruth has had, I think, 5 bursts and London is having a bad time.

31st. F. and I to see "While Germany waits" at L.P. (F.R.S. film—Mabel in it). Very pathetic. How do they bear their hard life in this fearful weather.

February

6th. In bed with bad cold. C. looked after my meals well, but avoided the room as much as possible. Down to 40° even if gas fire, but so far things in pantry have only about once been frozen.

7th. 72 years old. Still in bed. Lovely letters from Reg., Marg, Rowland, Joe, Ruthie, Evie, Bertha and various oddments from M. e.g. paper serviettes, scent and Feats on Fjord from F. "Strange Harmony" and a lovely bookmark from Caro and choc’s, mat from Rosemary, duster from Jonathan, cut out things from Daniel, 2 guineas from Ber. address book from Ruthie, letters and book from Rob. and Beatrice. I revelled in all! I feel very tired and sleep a lot.

8th. Up to tea.

10th. Up to breakfast.

Electricity off part of day, as coal situation in country very serious—many works are closed.

11th. Saw three films—teaching the deaf, English language and Toscanini conducting (latter too noisy).

12th. Long M.M.

13th. C. and I to Odd Man Out—escaped prisoner film.

22nd. R. and B. for week-end.

25th. Several films—quite good.

March

6th. F. and I to Rep. "Amphitryon". Middling.

10th. Joe came in evening.

11th. Joe, C. and I to film Society.

12th. C. began having pain. Played bridge.

13th. C. only middling. Played bridge in aft. or evening and in evening about 10 p.m. Joe took her in our car to St. Monan’s, Erleigh Rd.

14th. Friday. Joe sat up all last night in kitchen and looked quite worn next day. Telephoned several times to Home, and he went there about 9.30 a.m. and saw C. go to Labour Ward, but it was a v. slow process, and Dr. Wynne Thomas (v. good) in the end had to use forceps or the baby might have been born dead, he told me. "Little Katharine" was born at 6.15 p.m. and was 7½ lbs, and Joe went to see her and C. about 8.0. He is fearfully pleased and excited. C. had 13 stitches I think. We had an anxious day and are thankful all is well.

15th. Sat. Early lunch and then Joe had to return to Bradford. Snow still very deep, so he was late in arriving. I went to see C. and the baby, a darling little thing. Dr. and nurses said C. was splendid. I went to see her every day, except one I think, and she looked really lovely in her pretty night-gowns and bed jackets. She had lots of flowers and presents, and after 4 or 5 days visitors, but one day had too many and got a temp. so had to be careful.

18th. Went to cottage, first time since Jan. 15, because weather so bad with F. just to see how things were and get a few veg’s, for they are a terrible price.

22nd. R. and B. for week-end.

23rd. Sun. Margaret and Jeremy (aged 3) came in afternoon. R. and B. met them in car.

25th. M. and I. to Film Soc. Film had had to be changed and was an idiotic boring American one, all fighting.

In morning F. M. Jer. and I to cottage. Dinner there. Actually a bit of sun. J. enjoyed it so much that he cried when we left. M. to see C. in aft.

26th. I took M. and J. to "Wee Waif" to tea. Evening M. and I to film "The Magic Bow". V. good and music lovely. About Paganini.

28th. Friday. M. went to fetch C. and baby from Nursing Home. Had taxi. V. exciting. M. great help.

29th. Sat. M. and J. went home. F. saw them off. Heard that they had an awful journey. Train packed—lady gave M. her seat, but J. v. sick.

V. busy settling C. and baby. At 10 p.m. C. has to supplement with a bottle. What a bother bottles are! F. to Jordans for Peace Committee week-end.

30th. Sun. Ruthie, Daniel and Julia for the day. I went to meet them at 10.0 with car, but they arrived at "Southern" (I made the mistake.) However we arrived at house about same time. Lovely to see them—had not seen them since beginning of Jan. Children so sweet with the baby. Julia now talks a little—keeps saying "I do". I took them in car to catch 5.28. R. had had to be up at 6.15 and must have been very tired.

31st. Thankful to have F. back, as so much to do with fires etc. (Not the only reason I’m glad!)

April

1st. We have had a terrible winter—one of the worst on record. Since Xmas perpetual frost, then very deep snow, villages cut off, trains stuck in drifts even for 36 hours, towns in north cut off from each other, etc. We have only rarely seen the sun. Then when snow melted, fearful floods—many people made homeless, especially in Fen district. Food situation v. bad and fuel critical. (We have hardly any coal left.) Cuts in gas and electricity, but in Reading we have not felt it much. Ruthie had hard time—for 7 weeks no hot water and hardly any cold and lots of bursts. And even now weather is wet and cold. A few days ago I went by bus to Caversham to see floods and bus had to go by Vastern Road and under the railway bridge the water was quite deep.

I have had my new tyre (and wheel) stolen? But will get £5.10.0 Insurance compensation. Collyer has brought me a new one and new battery.

4th. Good Friday. Very bad weather over Easter. Joe came on Easter Monday 7th, and stayed till 11th. Registered baby Katharine Spence on 8th.

10th. I went to Sydenham to see E. and E. in their new house. V. pleased with it and Evie is much better—a joy to see her. Saw Else and the 2 children. Miss Bigland cooked us a beautiful dinner.

15th. Cottage with F. for short time. Wild daffodils and primroses lovely. Lambden ill. Saw him in bed.

16th. By myself to see the "Geisha" at Palmer Hall. Quite good.

18th. I am retiring from Women’s Free Church Council, so went to my last Committee. Mrs. Sumpshire, Mrs. Vine, Mrs. Good etc. all expressed regret and wanted me to stay on. F. went to Nat. Peace Conference at Oxford till Monday. V. interesting.

22nd. C., baby and I to Barbara Robson’s to tea. Marie B. Robson there. Simply teeming with rain. Weather awful.

23rd. Book Club. Langfords. Brains Trust.

25th. Fine. C. and I drove to cottage for 2 hours and persuaded Cottrell to plant seeds.

26th. Actually quite warm. R. and B. came and after tea they, F. and I on Loddon in punt (no boats) for about 1½ hrs. Lovely. Got lots of snowflakes and marsh marigolds.

27th. Sun. Cold again.

28th. R. and B. went. I went in car to station with them at 8.10 and drove back alone as I usually do.

May

So cold that Shinwell who had said no gas or electric heating might be used after the 5th for heating is reconsidering it! Nearly everything is going up in price and lots of trains knocked off because of coal situation, and miners are beginning 5 days weekly. We have now had bread rationing for months. There are perpetual unofficial strikes and really things seem worse than during the war.

We are having many of C’s friends to tea or to see the baby bathed!

Fortunately people over 70 , or those with v. young children, may use gas and electricity for heating.

7th. F. and I to see "Merrie England" done by Sainsbury singers in aid of Eventide Home. V. good. I have just resigned from the Committee of Women’s Free Church Council. Several members expressed regret, v. nicely.

10th. Sat. It had been arranged for F. and me to go to Heugh Folds for a week, and Joe couldn’t come for C. till next week, so we reluctantly left her and baby and caught the train in London (C. was going to motor us here to station and as we were starting got a puncture, but managed to get a taxi from Jarvis at once!). At Preston pouring rain. Took taxi at Windermere and arrived H.F. after 7.0. Warm welcome from Mrs. Mc’Morrow, and fire in kitchen.

11th. Sun. Showery. After tea round Rydal.

12th. Fine. Shopped. Beautiful sunset.

13th. Wet in morning. 3.30 bus to Ambleside. Poor tea there! Stocksghyll force v. fine, so full, and flowering trees all round.

14th. Gt. thunderstorm last night and most of day. After early tea to "Rest and be thankful" and back other side of lake through woods.

15th. Skelwith. Showery. S. Fenton away.

16th. Our last day and perfect weather. Village. Then sandwiches and up Nab Scar and Lows Crag, and down to Rydal. High tea. We usually have dinner in evening made by Mrs. Mc’Morrow and do our own lunch. One day we had an excellent veg. lunch in village.

17th. Left early for York. Nice parting from Mc’Morrows with some plants and 2 fresh eggs. Some tea at Leeds. Arrived B. Croft about 5.0. All in garden. Lovely to see them and Bill and Kate and little Johnny and Betty of course, but not Dia. Ices. People came about 7.0 to celebrate B’s 70th birthday which is to-morrow. Pockney and wife, Mr. Sheldon etc. and Molly and Ioan, which was very nice. After drinks, drove in cars to Young’s Hotel and had a wonderful dinner ending with an enormous ice pudding. Amusing printed thing written by Bill about Bertha. I sat between Bowes and Bill, and did enjoy it. I think there were 16 of us.

18th. Sun. Went to see Edna. After a good lunch, Bill and Betty motored us to the bus for Leeds. It has been lovely being at B.C. Ber and Bill had swims in the pool! Got another bus on to Bradford and then one to C. and Joe’s. They only got home on Wednesday so were barely straight, but it looked far nicer than in the winter, and we stayed 2 nights and greatly enjoyed it.

20th. Tues. Got home.

21st. Cottage. Garden simply frightful as Lambden ill. Most depressing.

22nd. Y.M. began. F. to Ruth’s. Warm. I began spring cleaning.

23rd. Wet. R. and B. to supper with me on their way to cottage.

24th. F. back and

25th Sun. we went to cottage for day. R. and B. motored us to see beautiful Vyne House.

26th. Whit Monday. F. and I early to London to Y.M. Daniel’s 4th birthday so we went there to tea and to stay. He was very happy. I slept in his room, and when I didn’t go to bed at the same time as he did, he kept calling out "I can’t take care of your bed much longer"!!

27th. Ruth, children and I to shop as I wanted shoes, then lunch, but v. hard to find anywhere. Aft. and evening. F. and I at Y. M.

28th. It has been lovely staying with R. and S. We went to Y.M. and children back to school. Aft. returned home. My back v. bad for 2 or 3 days.

June

1st. Sun. To Joselins, School House, to supper.

3rd. V. hot. Cottage. Thatchers at last.

10th. Tues. Chrissie Mennell in evening to stay.

11th. M.M. Henley. I motored her and F.

13th. No Conscription meeting in Town Hall. Victor Yates M.P. and a prospective Liberal M.P. and Marian Parmoor. She was excellent, but not many there.

14th. R. and B. for week-end.

16th. Chrissie went. It has been lovely having her.

19th. F. to Sibford for day.

20th. Quite good Liberal Meeting. Tronchin James and Lady Rathcreedan.

23rd. Cottage for night. F’s hand bitten by mosquito? and badly swollen.

25th. F. saw Dr.—hand in sling.

27th. Reg. brought Jeremy aged 3½, but went straight on to Deal. Poor little J. in terrible state, especially when bed-time came.

28th. Took J. to cottage. Joyse is away, and following week F. a lot in London and we had the sweep on same day for drawing room and kitchen, so horrible muddle and I had plenty to do, but Jeremy very sweet and good with me, though dreadful with strangers—wouldn’t come near Esther, Alan and Kenneth when they came to tea!

July

4th. Friday. Met Reg. about 10.30? at station and Jeremy went home with him. I have grown very fond of him.

5th. F. to Peace Committee at Hayward’s Heath for week-end. I very busy finishing spring cleaning.

9th. To London by bus. Shopped (badly) and have lovely visit to R., Daniel and Julia.

13th. Sun. after Meeting to Cottage with dinner. Quantities of raspberries.

17th. Rep. Candida. Good.

19th. Miss Ruthven to rent Ruth’s old room. 15/6 to include gas and milk.

21st. To cinema. "Frieda", tragic story of German girl in England, but ends happily. Joyse back and I’m glad. She went to Scotland for 10 days or more by coach, and then few days here, then to Shiplake.

I think on 26th. F. and I went on river in evening to Goring.

29th. Started with F. in car about 9.0 and arrived Ruth’s about 11.0. Directly after dinner F. and I by tube to Boosey and Hawkes to get a record of F. singing. Hot and we were both very nervous, but had practised a lot. Large room, grand piano, man kind. Tried songs first—I arise from dreams of thee, Of a "tha airts" and ‘O rest in the Lord’. Then did them again and immediately afterwards heard the records which were very good. F. sang beautifully and he is 74! Then hurried back to Ruth’s, tea at once, and while we were at it, Evie and Ernest arrived (R. knew they were coming.) Nice to see them and lovely visit to Ruth and children. Latter would sit in car and do hooter! Left after 6.0 and had difficult journey as sun full in my eyes and much traffic but got home alright.

August

1st. R. and B. came in evening.

2nd R. and B. bathed, at Freebody’s. They and F. busy over book on Quaker methods of conducting business meetings.

4th. Bank Holiday. Cottage. R. and B. bathed at Wasing Lake.

5th. R. and B. left.

9th. Sat. F. and I to St. Leonard’s. 2 changes (Southern). Arrived before 3.0, waited a few minutes and Ruth, S. and children arrived. (Trains full, but we got seats.) All in taxi to Spencer House Private Hotel, 5 The Mount. They have lovely large room at top of house (all 4 tog.) with view of sea. Our room back, looking on garden,, and on 1st floor.

We had a week of perfect weather, only almost too hot, as no shade near sea. F. and I plodged while R., S. and children bathed; went to see Old Hastings, outside of Castle, F. and S. to cricket match Sussex v. Kent, one aft. to Bodian Castle by motor coach. Fine ruin with moat. Excellent tea at Northiam at Yew Tree Farm and only 1/6 each. Thursday unfortunately F. and I were knocked up, and had to lie down and starve all day. One evening S. R. and I took bus and walked to Fairlight glen. Lovely. Children always so good and sweet. Mrs. Maxwell Stewart v. good cook, son waited and daughter Vera did housework (7 children). Other guests about 14 were pleasant. V. nice house where Herbert Spencer had lived. Meals at St. Leonard’s. Breakfast 9.0, Lunch 1.0 (no teatime), dinner 6.15. Coffee or tea after lunch and dinner. Latter rather too early!

After a very happy week, F. and I left after lunch on Sat. Becks stayed another week. Refrigerator had gone wrong and butter etc. all melting.

18th. Monday. In evening F. and I to cottage to stay. A perfect week and perfect weather. V. busy with plums—gathered over 120 lbs. Dilks and their 2 children to coffee on Wednesday. Only walk in wood on Friday. V. hot.

23rd. Sat. R. and B. came in time for tea.

24th. Sunday. Alas, our last day. I can’t bear to leave. Resting in aft. and R. heard crackling. Forest on fire. V. alarming, but fire engine came and it got under control. We all left after tea. Car so full of fruit that F. and B. had to come by bus.

25th. R. and B. left. Molly and Peter called. Busy day. Points etc. (rations) to be more difficult—no private motoring. It is all so depressing 2 years after the war.

It is a marvellous summer. Day after day of cloudless sky and hot sun—70-80° in our bedroom, and not a drop of rain for weeks, certainly not all August.

September

5th. Still no rain, but it is serious for food and milk and we are reduced to a ½ pint of milk each per week—awful. The garden is quite dried up and no flowers out. Last week I took Ella and Joyse in car to Mrs. Godfreys at the Warren. Party got up by Free Church Women—tea 1/- each in garden—motor boat etc. Lovely place.

7th. Sun. Car went wrong and I had to telephone for a man after Meeting. V. vexing. Carburettor wrong. Got it back next day.

8th. Expected C., Joe and baby to start in car to come here, one night at Reading, but C. taken ill yesterday, temp. over 102°, penicillin and M. + B. Most disappointing.

9th. F. and I to cottage to get it ready for Erica and family. Heath fires still going on—they have been bad all over the country.

12th. Erica etc. went to cottage. Weather began to break and I think yesterday or to-day we had first rain for many weeks. C. and Joe and darling Katharine arrived about 2.30. It is just lovely to have them. She is such a pet, 6 mos. old and so good. Has 2 teeth. C. v. tired, but getting better. F’s birthday, very nice. Joe only stayed a few days and part of the time was at a conference at Oxford. On 19th he, C. and I went by car with the baby to Ruth’s and had a lovely time there, poor Daniel sobbing when we left after tea. C. went to Heal’s about work they want her to do.

C. stayed here about 6 weeks and we were so happy together, often taking Katharine to see her friends (after tea in the car) sometimes to cottage etc. K. developed rapidly and actually stood the day before they left. She used to kick in her cot and hold out her arms to be taken up in the mornings. She usually slept till 7.0 a.m. and hardly ever cried.

October

9th. F., C. and I to see "Dante", a marvellous magician. Unfortunately I was suffering from bad pain in my back.

18th. R. and B. for week-end. They, C. and I walk at Goring Heath.

19th. R., B. and I walk to Loddon from "Merry Maidens’, after tea. Got lost and had v. long walk, coming back by Arborfield House, v. tired.

23rd. Joe arrived to breakfast, had the day here, and then C., M. and Katharine went back to Bradford on Friday 24th. It has been so lovely having them here, C. so sweet. It was dreadful letting them go, and the Dr. whom I had at last consented to have, arrived just as they were going. She says I have fibrositis. Many remedies and I slowly got better.

29th. Liberal Bazaar. V. nice.

November

7th. Friday. Ruth, Sidney and children for week-end (half-term). V. exciting.

8th. A lovely day and we all went to cottage, F. by bus, but came back in car. S. R. and Daniel walked thro’ wood. The colours were glorious and it was so mild that we had dinner out of doors. Large bonfire. Home to tea, so as to avoid lighting up time, as we have just gone back to ordinary time.

9th. S. and R. with F. to Meeting. S. spoke. Aft. we went to see Dix’s in car.

10th. S. and Ruthie shopped. They left by 5.10 and I saw them off. It has been lovely having them here and the bairns are so sweet, and R. and S. always so helpful and sweet too!).

Petrol rationing stopped and car had to be laid up at beginning of December.

December

22nd. It seems sad not to be having the usual family party here this year but we are much looking forward to going to Swansea to-morrow. As usual, kind friends have sent us lovely cards (they are a fearful price this year) and letters and we had a few presents yesterday—a splendid green rug from Ruth and Sidney, coat hanger, knitting needle box and oven cloth from Caro and Joe for me, and handkerchief for F., little friendship book from Teresa, woollen gloves from Edna, and since that 2 small bars of chocolate from Miss Happe and Metz and a telephone pad from Miss Ruthven.

Lately we have seen ‘Trial by Jury’ and ‘Pirates of Penzance’—also I saw ‘Barretts of Wimpole St.’ at L.P. The Castles have just left, alas! We also saw "Hansel and Gretel". It was charming. We went also with R. and B. to sordid (?)"No Room at the Inn".

At the end of November I had to give up the car as no more petrol allowed. Anyway the tyres are worn out, and it is almost impossible to get new ones. We live in difficult times and prices rise and rise. A kind Miss Tilden whom I don’t know has sent us a parcel of food from Ontario.

Ruthie and I saw Princess Elizabeth’s wedding procession from the Guildhall. Robert had 2 tickets and got them transferred to us, and paid 6/- for refreshments (v. good). We had to be there by 5.30. I stayed several nights with Ruth and was there for her birthday which was lovely. F. and I both there for 1 night and went with Ruth to big Liberal rally in Albert Hall. R. gave us lovely supper afterwards in Lyons Brasserie.

We went to Swansea on December 23rd, Tues., having booked seats from Paddington. The train was very full, but we were alright, only couldn’t get tea. Had sandwiches with us. Arrived about 5.0 I think, and M. and Rosemary and Jonathan met us. Rowland hasn’t been well and tho’ better looks pale. House prettily decorated and stair carpets make it much cosier and our room looked lovely, with holly, etc. and a new rug.

24th. Children v. excited. Unfortunately Reg. not well—perhaps same as Rowland—and went to bed. Notes up chimney and carol. Children insisted on F. and me hanging up our own stockings and said they had bought things to fill them. Jonathan too excited to sleep. About 2.0 a.m. he and Rosemary crept into our room (we pretended to be asleep) and put a tangerine, 1d, some hooks and eyes, bit of india rubber and one or 2 other things in my stocking and similar sorts in F’s. It was sweet of them.

Xmas Day, Thursday, 1947. Reg. in bed to breakfast, so after grapefruit, Yule Doos, etc. we took a lot of presents up to his room. He and M. gave me soap and scent, Rowland jig-saw for F. and me, and ruler for me, Rosemary a lovely bag she had made, Jonathan lavender bag he had made, F. and I "Semi-attached couple and semi-detached house" to each other. Later I got £10.10.0 from Ber, book from R. and B. and little bag from Joyse. Reg. got up later and we had a really lovely day. Meals just like pre-war. M. must have saved up for ages, all so dainty with pretty mats. etc. Chicken, poached eggs for Rowland and me, sprouts from M’s allotment, pudding made by me and really good!! And full of ‘things’, wonderful trifle, mince pies, sweets, fruit etc. Tea a really delicious cake and other things, then a very pretty tree and lots more presents for the children and quite large bags of fudge for everyone made by the children. The concert in the afternoon was really most delightful. Jonathan has a lovely voice and everything was well done.

(Programme included written by children)

Bible Jonathan

Carol: O come all ye faithful

Santa Claus Rosemary

Rock of Ages—violin Jonathan

Haydn Rondo Rowland

Holy Night

The Miner` Jonathan

Cradle Song Rosemary

Carol: It came upon the Midnight clear

Welsh poem Rosemary

Beethoven Rowland

Happy New Year Rosemary

Carol: While Shepherds watched.

Percussion Band

Play)

Later, when the children in bed, we had one side of Frank’s record which we have given them, and some more carols. It was a great rest for me to have no responsibility and we were all so happy together.

Boxing Day. Unfortunately Reg. in bed again where he remained for the rest of our stay. The rest of us started in pouring rain by bus for Caswell Bay. It cleared and we had an exquisite walk back along the cliffs to Langland Bay. Bus back in time for dinner.

On Sunday most of us to Meeting. Everyone v. friendly. Jacqueline and 2 children to tea—her husband the new Principal and so nice afterwards to fetch her.

Tues. Dec. 30th. F. and I left in aft. Pouring. Taxi and M. J. and J. to see us off. The children have been sweet and good the whole time and M. is really wonderful, never cross, quiet and efficient, 3 fires to do before breakfast, coffee, cocoa etc. for breakfast, Reg. in bed and so on. Having a nursery fire, and room for the children to play in makes it much nicer and more restful for us. We got home quite comfortably (but crowded) about 8.0 o’clock, v. cold, but Joyse had lit the kitchen fire for us.

Next 3 days F. to Committees in London. R. and B. for long week-end. Refugee party very nice.

1948

January

Wet, cold month, but no snow here (or hardly any). Very depressing, as Reg. had to go to hospital with kidney trouble, Rosemary got v. bad discharging ear—M. had 4 in bed ill at once, and then got ill herself and could only stay in bed 2 days on and off, while Rowland ran the house and he is only 13. He did it well, but M. got very depressed and no wonder.

Railways (alas) nationalized Jan. 1st now. "British Railways". Coal was done last year.

Caro, too, for over a week had a terrible headache and nothing seemed to do it good. Ernest was very ill with bronchitis over Xmas, and Ruth’s children were recovering from a not very bad attack of whooping cough but had bad nights and of course could not go to school.

Jan. 10th. F. and I to see "Gone with the Wind".

12th. Rep. Twelfth Night. V. good.

13th. By bus to London to buy Bible for Jonathan and then surprize visit to Ruth’s.

14th. Beatrice spoke well to W.I.L. on Social Incentives.

16th. To Harfords to tea. Mrs. Kentish Wright, Mrs. Saxton, Dr. and Mrs. Le Marquand and daughter there.

17th. R. and B. week-end to ‘celebrate’ R’s birthday. He was on way home from interview at Bristol as parliamentary Labour candidate. Food really difficult now. Only 1¾ pints each of milk per week (none on Wednesdays but Wed. milk on Tues., though often ¼ pt. each extra on Sundays, which makes 2 pints each per week. Eggs only very occasionally, and the fat ration has been 7 oz. each per week for a long time. Bacon only 1 oz. per week—we only get it every fortnight as 2 oz. is the least one can get! Meat about 1/- a week (for F.), that is about 1 lb. I get a fair amount of cheese.

20th. Kenneth Nicholson v. good on his time in the Soudan.

21st. Book Club at Reynolds. Has been going 50 or 52 years, so memories of old Book Clubs, and voting new members.

I forgot to say the Castles left L.P. at Xmas and have gone to Hull. They will be much missed. H. Stevens carrying on as Head till the summer.

24th. Actually was sent 2 new tyres by Jarvis, but car still laid up.

28th. V. sad letter from M. She thought Reg. much better, but was told yesterday that he has T.B. in the kidney. It really is terrible for them both.

31st. By private coach to Newbury to hear Clement Davies. V. good. High tone about his speech.

February

2nd. Began Spring cleaning our bedroom.

3rd. I went to Swansea, as so worried (F. went to Ruth’s on 4th till Friday). Mrs. Dale arrived same evening, but I was glad I went. Marg. pretty well, but goes nearly every day to see Reg. in Morriston Hospital (military) and it takes nearly 1 hour each way. Mrs. D., M., Jeremy and I went there on 4th in aft.—hospital all on one floor, so J saw Reg. thro’ window and both were delighted. I only went in to speak to him for 2 minutes and was shocked to see how changed and ill he looked since Xmas. We left Mrs Dale with him and I gave M., Jeremy and self tea and cakes on way home.

6th. Returned by aft. train to Reading. M. saw me off. Jeremy not well and Rosemary’s ear began discharging again. It has been lovely to be with them and children so sweet. M. wonderful.

13th. Becks arrived about 3.30. F. met them. We had a really lovely week-end with them, and children so good and sweet. Shopped, fed seagulls and swans etc. I saw them off with great regret on 16th, early afternoon. Ruthie looks well and is so affectionate.

17th. F. and I to cottage to get it ready for Morphys. Viburnum exquisite. Fully out for first time.

18th. It has been a wonderfully mild winter, but began to be cold yesterday and now there are icy winds and some parts of the country are having an awful time.

20th. Heard that Reg. has had his last internal examination, and the 2nd kidney is alright. The Drs. will operate. It is a very good thing.

22nd. Sun. Asta Brugelmann from Cologne spoke about Germany. Most interesting. She spoke excellent English; had met F. in America.

26th. To Peggy Archibald’s to tea.

I forget date of Reg’s operation, but he got through it alright, thank God. He was sometime in the hospital, and then unfortunately no room could be found for him in a Sanatorium, and he had to go home as an invalid. V. hard for Margaret. I do trust he will get really well again. Poor man. He has had a very bad time.

March

Tues. I went to Bradford, direct from Reading. F. going to-morrow to Ruth’s to attend London Committees. He saw me off. C. met me about 7.30 I think and that was joyful. F. came to Bradford on Friday evening, and staying till 10th when he went to Ruth’s for the night, then Sibford, then Birmingham where he spoke at a Regional Peace Conference. We had a very happy time with C., Joe and darling little Katharine. The weather was pretty good but they had turned out of their bedroom for us so that we could have the gas stove, and C. gave us most delicious meals and we had a quiet, but very happy time. K. can nearly walk now.

I left, quite sorrowfully, on 12th, Joe seeing me off,, and arrived home in good time, but it was horrid not to have F. here, tho’ plenty to do. Joyse had kindly lit kitchen stove. F. arrived next day, tired out with all his travelling and we were glad to settle down quietly.

I had bad toe and had to go to chiropodist.

19th. F. to Langfords. Greek Philosophy. I didn’t feel v. well so stayed at home.

 

20th. Sat. Evelyn and Ernest’s Golden Wedding party (date of wedding to-morrow). Most delightful—exciting. F. and I went to London in good time and arrived Crosby Hall soon after 12.0 and had a lovely welcome from the Weisses. Private room, beautiful flowers, and beautiful lunch. Party was E. and E., Elsa, Elisabeth (Jancis had mumps), Godfrey, Erica, Stella, Mabel, F. and me. Bertha, Bowes, Edmund, Bill Morrell, and Peter Thomas. Everything so well arranged. Edmund proposed healths in a happy speech, and Ernest and Evie replied very well. Mabel read a clever poem she had written. We were all photographed on steps of Sir T. More’s Hall. Afterwards F. went home and I went to Ruth’s for the night.

21st. Sun. Ruth and I to lunch with Bertha and Mrs Long at Cumberland Hotel, then I came home. Lovely at R’s. Both children in my bed before breakfast.

April

4th. Sunday. I was tired and didn’t go to Meeting. F. came back having walked up the hill and said "I’m very tired". Still we had a nice evening together and he sang several German songs. In the night he woke in great heart pain and had to keep sitting up in bed, but he wished to get up to breakfast (I think he did the kitchen fire) and then he telephoned to ask if the Dr. could see him. Answer was ‘no’, presumably he thought it was only for the usual overhaul. However F. not happy, and as I had to go the grocer’s I called at Dr. Berry’s and some-one had cancelled an appointment, so F. walked there at 2.30. He told Dr. B. we were going to look after Ruth’s children any day now when the baby arrived and he said really F. ought to rest for a week, but he let him take his own prescriptions to the chemist.

6th. F. rested on the sofa in our bedroom and seemed much better.

7th. F. not so well so sent for D. at tea-time. He said F. must rest and not go to London and he would like Dr. Finsterbush, a specialist, to see him. I had to telephone to Sidney and Ruth and hated ‘letting them down’ at the last moment. Unfortunately we had ‘sweep’ for kitchen, so hard work.

8th. Thurs. Dr. Finsterbush came in morning and took a cardiograph of F’s heart. Room darkened. He was with us about 1½ hours—told me it was amazing that F. could walk to the Dr. last Monday and that he might have been in excruciating pain. Dr. B. told me that I should warn the family that F. was seriously ill and I telephoned to Rob., Sidney and Marg. Poor M. said she must come at once, but I told her not to.

9th. Friday. The day R’s baby should arrive. R. and B. most kindly arrived at lunch time and stayed till Monday. Very cheering. Father much better.

11th. Sun. I went to Meeting with R. B. was working on her book. Heard in evening that Ruth’s baby "Lucy Ruth" was born at 8.30 p.m. Sidney sounded so delighted and excited and we are thankful all is well. Fortunately he has been able to get a Home Help 8.30–5.0. F. is in bed for at least a month, at first not to get out at all, but after some days allowed to get out to have bed made, and after a bit to wash in bathroom.

Frank & Mary Pollard, Evelyn & Ernest Weiss, Bertha & Bowes Morrell, and others, on the steps of Crosby Hall, London, 20 March 1948

Frank & Mary Pollard, Evelyn & Ernest Weiss, Bertha & Bowes Morrell, and others,

on the steps of Crosby Hall, London, 20 March 1948; by PA-Reuter

21st. Wed. F. a lot better, so after early dinner I left his tea ready and went to London. Stupidly got 1.20 train (slow) instead of 1.30 fast, but arrived at Ruth’s nursing home (Muswell Hill) about 3.30. She was up, in a pretty teagown and looked well and lovely. The baby is sweet with a fair amount of dark hair. Daniel and Julia are delighted with her! I spent an hour with her, then went to see D. and J. They were having tea, the nice Home Help superintending and they were surprized and I think pleased. She made me a cup of tea. I had about 10 mins. there, and arrived home about 7.30. F. had got on well. I was tired out, for the wind and shaking of buses hurt my head so, and it was very windy. Dr. F. thinks it’s a nerve, and I’m taking iodine. I soon recover in the house, except I can’t brush my hair much!

24th. Sat. R. and B. arrived to tea. B. has cold and was in bed most of Sunday and they went away on 26th but it was lovely having them, and I enjoyed having Rob. to myself a good deal!

It is a wonderful Spring and so warm. Blossom etc. exquisite.

28th. F. not quite so well. I was worried. He has visitors sometimes—H.G. Wood, Leyton Richards, A. Joselin etc. I think it was to-day that my queer head pains suddenly disappeared, after having them about 6 weeks.

29th. F. better again.

We are getting on with spring-cleaning—Mrs. Tigwell is very good.

November 1948

I haven’t had the heart to write in this diary. It has been a miserable summer.

On May 11 Frank was allowed out of bed for ½ hour and on the

20th downstairs and then a few short walks, but on

June 1st he was getting up about 10.30 when I heard his bell and rushed upstairs. He had bad heart attack, and in the evening another though not so bad. On the

2nd Dr. Finsterbusch (specialist) came at 8.15 and took another cardiograph and gave 2 injections which made F’s leg v. painful for several days. He was not encouraging. F. to be in bed for a long time.

On 4th Marg. arrived (Friday) though difficult for her, but Reg. at home now, though really an invalid. Ruth and Lucy came on Sunday for the day, so saw M. but she left by taxi (car gone wrong) directly after dinner. Ruth and the baby stayed till after tea. It was lovely to have them all, and so good of them.

On 10th I was unwell myself. Joyse was so kind, and I soon recovered. Robert and Beatrice were so kind in coming over the week-end as often as possible. I got out very little—F. always wanted me—and I read aloud a great deal to him. Caro very kindly came on Thurs. June 24th with Katharine and Joe was coming in July to take his holiday here. Unfortunately on Mon. 28th I broke a bottle of milk. C. came to help and it broke in her hand (the right hand) and cut her terribly. I left F. in bed and K. in her cot and took C. to hospital in the car. She was tremendously brave, but fainted with the pain. After this she had to go repeatedly to the hospital.

About this time we sold the cottage. I had a lot of work connected with it, and felt it greatly having to give it up, but it was inevitable.

On July 5th Joe came. He and C. and baby went occasionally to the cottage (we have it till end of August.)

On 7th F. was up for ½ hour.

19th. C. had finger opened.

20th. I went to cottage with Joe and K. Lots of raspberries.

21st. F. downstairs, not dressed.

23rd. C. saw a specialist at hospital, but finger still bad and on 27th Joe motored her to Oxford to see Mr. Finchlestone—treatment here has been shocking. Joe had to go back to Bradford on 28th and C. was in bed for a fortnight having penicillin injections twice daily. Fortunately thro’ Sheila Fawcett I got 2 L.P. maids wanting holiday jobs for a month—1 Mary for a few days, then the other Maureen. They did very well and looked after K. almost entirely. She is the sweetest little thing and tremendously advanced and so good—very fond of Ganpa—calls me Gaga.

On 7th August the Becks all came to dinner and tea en route for the cottage for their summer holiday. I have lent them the car (I had a bad fall on my face).

8th. M. came from Swansea, getting up about 4.0 a.m. I think. Sidney met her and took her to cottage—then she came here by bus and went after tea arriving home after 11.30 p.m, I think, and having to cycle from station.

11th. Pouring. I took K. to cottage by bus.

16th. Joe arrived in evening.

18th. I went to cottage—perfect day. Watched cows milked etc. Children so sweet and D. can now climb trees.

19th. Joe went.

21st. Becks to dinner and then home. Have enjoyed the cottage.

24th. Perfect weather. I took Joyse and Mrs. Tigwell to cottage, picked plums. Dinner in garden—Mrs. T. back by bus, J. and I stayed to tea and home by car.

25th. I was having breakfast with K. and Maureen in dining room when the Malones’ duck appeared in front garden. K. was frightfully excited and pleased. Maureen caught it and we all carried it across and K. kept quacking.

26th. Actually Frank, at last, Caro, Maureen, K. and I to cottage. We had a perfect day and F. had a long sleep indoors. Dinner in garden. Picked apples. Lovely to have Caro there at last as well as Frank.

29th. Sunday. Robert and B, Caro and I spent day at cottage, packing up etc. alas. They were all so kind and helpful. Maureen left Sunday evening.

30th. Monday. I went to cottage by 7.45 bus and found the removers and Mrs. Morphy already there. It was a melancholy occasion. I sold a lot of things to Mrs. M., said goodbye to Mrs. Pike and Mrs Cottrell and caught 10.20 home. Removers (Bailey £2.10.0) soon came and dining room was like a pigsty. Evening 2 friends of Joyse’s came and bought a lot of things. Caro a great help.

September

5th. C., F., K and I motored to Bearwood and got a few blackberries.

9th. C. and K. to Swansea. M. wrote about a house for us but I didn’t feel well enough to go and see it and it went for £50 more than we said we would give.

21st. C. and K. came back.

23rd. Joe came and on 25th he took them back to Bradford. It has been very hard for him left so much alone and terribly hard for Caro for her 3rd finger has lost the use of the top joint. I do blame the hospital and also myself for breaking the bottle. I shall miss them greatly, but am rather tired. C. is so unselfish and good, and brave. May Gretton called in aft. and was so nice, and R. and B. for week-end.

26th. Sun. R., B. and I on river. Lovely.

October

I am getting about a bit now and F. is much better. Reg. had a 2nd operation and a long course of streptomycin in hospital, but is said to be cured of the T. B. though still a semi-invalid and M. (after he got home) had a difficult time.

29th. I went by 1.20 bus to Tadley. Called on Lambden, then to cottage. Miss Roan and Miss Shutter so nice and have made it lovely inside. I feel much happier about it now. Then walked to Chapel Corner to see Morphys who had a very nice tea ready, but I had little time as I was tired and caught the 4.20 home. They also were so nice.

November

5th. R. away so B. came for week-end Friday to Mon. Poor thing suffering much from sciatica.

8th. Dr. Berry (he only comes every 4 or 5 weeks now) so pleased with F. that he can do a good deal more.

On 11th he went in bus for first time since April to a lunch hour concert at Town Hall, and we went one evening to Book Club at Evans’s for part-time.

(written in January)

We had a wonderfully happy Xmas. On Thursday, December 23rd, F. and I started in the car at 12.30 for Tudor Private Hotel, Fortis Green, and arrived there at 2.30. I garaged the car close to and was thankful to be safely there, though I got on well. Later we went to see Ruth and the children, and then back to dinner, and I went to R’s again later.

Dec. 24th. B. arrived in aft. not at all well yet. F. and I have nice bedroom on ground floor next bathroom, with gas fire—v. comfortable lounge, but no central heating. I think we went to R’s to tea, then Rob. arrived and after sending children’s letters to Santa Claus, we went back to hotel. Sang carol of course.

Xmas Day. Sat. We went to Ruth’s for the day. She and Sidney had arranged everything most beautifully—meals in nursery, fires in both rooms, pretty decorations, etc. Some presents in morning. Delicious dinner, tea and supper. Xmas tree—more presents. Children all good and sweet. Lucy is a little pet. I had bath powder from R. and S., book (Dominique) from R. and B., gloves from M. made by her, exquisite bed-jacket made by Caro, kettle-holder Rosemary, mat Jonathan, notepaper to F. and me from Rowland, little woven box Daniel and Julia (they had done the weaving) and book from May Gretton. Carols and even Frank managed to sing one song (The Oxen). It really was such a happy day.

Sunday. Meant to go to Meeting, but car wouldn’t start. Horrid fog. R. and B. went home in evening.

Monday, 27th. Some meals at R. and S.’s.

Tuesday, 28th. I met Evie at Oxford Circus in morning and had lovely talk in Fuller’s café. Back to R’s for lunch and then R. and S. took D. and J. to "Mother Goose" at Golders Green, and F. and I looked after Lucy who was like an angel. Got high tea ready. Shirley Philips, wife and baby called. V. nice evening—mahjong etc. then alas, had to say goodbye to this very loved family, who have been kindness itself.

Wed. 29th. Fortunately a fine day. Nice parting from hotel (rather expensive, but v. nice proprietor, wife and daughter); left in car at 9.30, home at 11.30.

It has done F. and me good and when Dr. B’s partner Dr. Rolleston came a few days later he gave a very good report of Frank.

 

1949

January

Frank has steadily improved, to our great joy, and is now able to go to the court in the mornings and to committees in Reading.

We have good news of Reg. who at last has begun work again. This is a great relief. Caro, poor lassie, has just paid her last visit to the specialist in Bradford and alas her thumb is stiff and the top joint of one finger useless, and he can do no more to help. I am terribly sorry for her.

[diary then reverts to Christmas 1948 and starts again in May 1949]

May

I haven’t written for some months. It has been a very mild winter and a beautiful spring. Frank, fortunately, has steadily improved and been able to go to a few committees. He went to London alone for the first time on Feb. 3rd. On the 12th I went to Paddington and met Ruth with Daniel and Julia and brought the children here for their ½ term holiday Sat. to Monday. They were sweet and good, but unhappily I had a bad cold. I took them back to Pad. on the 14th. On the 18th we had Evie and Ernest for the week-end till the 21st—a very happy visit. The Gravels (?) and Dr. Coward came to tea on Sunday. On the 25th. F. was not very well, but soon recovered, but I had to invigilate (with Joyse’s help) for him on 28th and March 1st.

March

11th. To London to see Ruth who has mumps, also Julia. Daniel began it. Fortunately none of them had it badly, but it was very difficult for poor Ruthie. R. and B. came here for week-ends occasionally. Poor Beatrice has been suffering greatly for some months—something slipped in her spine, and she can only walk a very little and must not stand.

On 16th we had the Book Club—the first time for ages—on George Eliot.

18th. Mrs. Joachim for night. Very nice visitor.

25th. To see flat in London with Beatrice. Didn’t like it.

Several times I see May Gretton which is very nice, as Michael Heigham has come to L.P.

April

4th. To Swansea for the night to see a house. Lovely to see the family again after over a year (except M.) First time I had left F. alone for a night since his illness. Did not take the house.

8th. To London. Evie and I met at Cumberland Hotel and had lunch with Bertha and Betty. Delightful. I met B. before this and went over their new flat (in building) at Spencer Rd., Chiswick. V. nice.

14th. The Becks all came for Easter and stayed till 22nd. (Poor S. has just lost his mother.) We had a very lovely time—primroses, bluebells, river, R. and S. a dinner dance at Wokingham, etc. children so sweet. Car a help.

27th. F. and I to Bradford, a very happy week with C. and Joe and Katharine. C. K. and I to Harrogate by bus one afternoon to see Isabel and Ellen Yewdall. F. and C. to Meeting. Katharine is a splendid little girl and so advanced. C. manages so well and cooks beautifully, and F. enjoyed long talks with Joe.

May

5th. We came home. Have had very good weather. F. stopped for committee in London. Joyse gave me tea, and had made things nice.

7th. Sat. Friendly Circle—Joyse’s affair. 17 altogether to tea. Gt. success.

19th. F. to stay with Ruth.

20th. I to stay with Ruth.

21st. Met Evie and went to Gateshead Old Girls Guild at a High School—I forget where. Isabel (Riley) James provided a very good tea and it was all most enjoyable, meeting old school fellows, Pattinsons, Mrs. Poad etc. I think 17 or more there. Evie did not seem very well. I had lunch with Robert, at Vega. Nice.

22nd. Sun. Sidney and Ruth, Daniel, Julia and I to Kenwood in morning. Lovely place. F. looked after Lucy. She is so good and a pet.

23rd. F. and I to Y.M. It was dull. Has been lovely staying with R. and S. Home in aft. and Colin to supper. Quite delightful. Looked at photos etc.

June

3rd. R. and B. for Whitsuntide. She can walk very little, but on the Monday we drove to Henley with lunch and made a short round by Fairmile. Sunday R. repeated poetry—v. nice. I do miss the cottage, especially when the family are here.

15th. Mr. Terrell died.

July

5th. F. and I by 10.35 to York. Bowes (Lord Mayor) met us and helped us to catch last train to Goathland. C. Joe and K. had arrived before lunch and met us at about 7.0. We had a very delightful fortnight with them there—grand hot weather most of the time though we usually needed a fire in evening and morning. Mrs. Pennock most obliging and cooked delicious dinners. It is a beautiful place with heaps of lovely walks. We got bilberries one day. Twice to Whitby. Kath. splendid plodging both in streams and sea, and so fearless. G. good walker. C. couldn’t walk far. I had a stupid attack of fibrositis, but we had lovely walks to stepping stones, Darnholme, etc. and one day got good tea at farm near Beck Hole.

19th. Tues. We said goodbye to the Hardies (they went home in aft.) and went by bus to York. Bertha met us and in aft. we had tea at the Mansion House with Bowes and Betty (Lady Mayoress).

20th. Bertram Mills Circus—wonderful. Edna to lunch—Kath. R. to tea next day.

22nd. Home. Bowes saw us off. Good train through to Reading West. Bertha has been perfectly sweet and as she is alone we saw a lot of her. Betty is doing well and she and Bowes enjoy their ‘job’.

29th. Marg., Jonathan and Jeremy arrived and we had a very happy week with them, M. practising driving.

August

3rd. We all drove to Ruth’s and F. and I looked after Lucy who was like an angel while the rest went to Zoo. M. drove all the way home after tea.

13th. To London to see B. in nursing home at Hampstead. She is in Plaster of Paris jacket—has a ‘slipped disc’ and has suffered dreadfully. Hard on Rob. too and he goes every day to see her.

Weather still fine and very hot.

22nd. To Evie’s for the night by bus. Really lovely. She and Ernest so sweet. Actually a little rain, first I’ve seen for weeks. Horniman’s gardens.

September

1st. Rowland, who has just got to 6 distinctions in matric and is only just 15 (?) and his French friend Clement for 2 nights. Court where F. sitting and steamer to Pangbourne. Bus back. Shove ha’penny with Joyse.

15th. Caro and Katharine came.

16. C., K., Joyse and I to near Arborfield and got a lot of blackberries. C. and K. stayed until October 12th and we had such a happy time. Weather marvellous and hot the whole time and K. played in the garden on the swing—Julia Shiples from up the road and the Malone children sometimes played with her; we had lots of C’s friends and went visiting. One day from Sonning to Caversham on river steamer, another day motored to Henley, playing in park and got v. good tea in café by river.

Joyse looked after K. every afternoon for an hour while we rested. C. had breakfast in bed nearly always.

29th. Heard that Joe has resigned from his church. He has been treated badly.

October

2nd. Joe came. In evening we took K. on river in boat at Caversham for an hour. It was a perfect evening.

6th. Joe went home. It is hard for him and Caro.

The wasps are tiresome, but we have had tea in the garden a lot. Directly C. and K. went the weather broke and we began having much needed rain. It has been a perfect summer, nicely hot and no wind for weeks, and nearly always fresh.

29th. R. and B. came for week-end, B. intending to stay longer. It is many weeks since they have been, owing to poor B.’s illness (slipped disc) but unfortunately I got a bad cold and stayed in bed part of 30th. Sunday and R. did the dinner beautifully, but they thought it best to go home in the evening. So disappointing. R. is speaking a lot on ‘Marriage Reform’ at N/C, Torquay etc. etc.

November

8th. F. and I went to Swansea and had a lovely time there, in spite of poor weather. So nice to see Reg. so well and in good spirits. I always put Jeremy to bed. He was sweet, and Jonathan is such a pet. F. and I one day, walked to the sea, but it was cold and dreary. On Sunday some of us went a very nice walk having been to Meeting (and P.M.) in morning. M. has been made P.M. clerk.

24th. F. and I motored to cottage, but the 2 ladies were out. I saw Mrs. Pike and daughter. Over a year since I last saw the beloved place.

December

There has been a good Liberal Bazaar and various engagements, but we missed L.P. speeches as I got a very bad cold, sneezing perpetually and a swollen eye—most annoying.

(written in 1950 March)

Xmas Day. F. and I went by train (Southern), very uncrowded and got to Ruth’s in good time and had a very happy day, though I was suffering a good deal from fibrositis in my back. Beautiful dinner—‘snowman’ made by Sidney with presents inside—lovely tea with wonderful cakes made by Ruthie, children sweet. We got home about 10.0 p.m. and after a short wait secured a taxi who charged the ordinary fare (we gave extra!)

26th. R. and B. came from Bognor, very much later than expected owing to a partial railway strike. Pantomime, poor, next day, and drive to Gallows at Inkpen—had just been blown down. They went on 28th.

 

1950

January

3rd. Met Evie in London, then by myself to see "The Search" at Ritz. V. wonderful and very pathetic—(lost refugee boy).

6th. London Philharmonic here. Grand performance. Birnum (Dutch) conducted. Began spring-cleaning with drawing room on 18th as sofa getting recovered. Had chimney cleaned by vacuum for first time. V. successful.

31st. As F. is J.P. invited to private view of ‘Blue Lamp’ film. V. good—police and detective work.

February

5th. (or 8th?) After being v. anxious about Caro, little ‘Robert Andrew’ born to-day at her home and she got on well. Very thankful.

For few days worked hard for election addressing envelopes, etc.

Had kitchen and scullery ceilings done.

23rd. Election. Liberals everywhere did very badly and most lost deposits. Most disappointing, for meetings and enthusiasm much better than usual. For 1st time in Reading we had 2 candidates, Derrick and Opperman. Rob. and Marg. are Labour—rest of us Liberals. F. to Woodbrooke after voting.

25th. R. and B. for week-end. R. tired out. B. much better now.

26th. Motored to Moulsford and had tea there.

March

1st. I went to Caro’s via London. Arrived 5.24. Deep snow—we have had none in Reading. While waiting for bus Joe appeared. He is doing ½ time Marriage Guidance work (£5 per week, I think) and they pay £1 a week rent—very difficult as prices so high.) Lovely to see him and C. and the lovely baby—he has quite a lot of hair and is so sweet. K. went yesterday with M. to Swansea, so much easier for C. and Joe.

3rd. Mrs. Mosley, ‘char’, left, and now they have no help at all till April.

4th. Left by 9.30 for York after a very happy visit. B. met me with car (and Mrs. Long) and we drove to see Mrs. Currall, poor Katherine R. and Edna. Lunch, an excellent one, at Mansion House with Bowes and Betty, Colin, Merl, Michael and a friend, and then I had to leave and arrived home about 8.30 I think. Ber. so sweet. F. has stayed in London, one night with R. and B. and then at Ruth’s.

8th. ‘Quaker Opera’ at L.P.

11th. May Gretton for 1 night. Have got on splendidly with spring-cleaning and done all the worst, except dining room.

26th. Sun. Margt. Came with little Katharine who she has had for a month. Lovely to have them.

28th. M. and I took K. to London. She is a very pretty little girl with lovely fair hair and was very good. It has done her a lot of good being at Swansea. We met Joe at King’s X at 12.15 or so and after a little talk left K. with him and they went back almost at once to Bradford. M. and I got lunch, had 2 or 3 hours at the Ideal Home Ex. (v. tiring), went to R’s office and saw the new one—he drove us to Vega Restaurant in taxi where B. came too and we had an excellent meal and then came home.

29th. M. went alas.

April

1st. Sat. Ruth and family came in morning, Sidney in aft. They stayed till Monday 10th and we had a very happy time and got out every day, but the weather was not ideal. On Good Friday 2 of us went by bus, rest by car to Goring Heath, walked to view over river and had lunch with cows round us. V. windy, but enjoyable picnic. One day Ruth and the children (not Lucy) had rides at the riding school bottom of R. Wallis’s garden.

The 3 children slept together and were sweet and good the whole time and we were all very happy. Sidney did much to help, cutting a tree, mending books, amusing the children etc. and Ruthie always is a help, but was very tired I fear. She has too much to do.

19th. Spent the day with May Gretton at Banbury Rd.

21st. Good F.O.R. meeting.

25th. Tues. F. and I to Swansea in morning. Started in snowstorm and I had lumbago. Reg. not v. well and thinks he has return of T.B.

26th. Lumbago so bad that I went to bed in afternoon. V. annoying for I wanted to help M. Reg. so kind and got me hot bottle—I was shivering.

27th. Taxi to theatre to see "The happiest days of your life", an amusing school (girls) being evacuated to a boy’s school.

29th. Aft. M., Jeremy, F. and I walk thro Singleton Woods, exquisite rhododendrons all colours, then train to Mumbles and saw sea, but it poured so we came home. I still have lumbago tho’ it’s much better.

May

1st. Our first fine day and in aft. M. took us to Penarth. Sea lovely, but great wind. Back to tea.

2nd. Home. Joyse had prepared lovely supper for us. It has been delightful being at Swansea, but overshadowed by Reg’s fears (he rested mostly), children very good and M. made perfectly delicious meals, but is very over tired and discouraged about Reg. and I can’t say I felt well!

4th. Specialist told Reg. he has no disease. An intense relief. Any pain he has is neuralgic.

6th. R. and B. for week-end. Poured.

9th. Weather better.

11 (or 16)th. I went to Sydenham and had a lovely day with E. and E. They are going to move into a residential hotel. They are so good and plucky.

18th. F. to Woodbrooke for night. Tisby (Lady Hutchison) called on me.

20th. Robert invited me to a Waterway trip. I went to London and B. met me at 12.20 and took me to Fenchurch St. Here we met R. and his partner Stallabrass and at ¼ to 3 started in 4 or 5 open motor boats and 2 large barges with the real decorations on them, and went up the canals past factories and slums—tea at a factory canteen, then on up Regent’s Park Canal, so pretty, and past the Zoo, to Edgware where we landed at 7.o’clock. 2 buses back to Chiswick where R. and B. had everything lovely for me, and after a delicious meal, talk and telephoning to Ruthie I went to bed.

21st. Sun. Directly after breakfast R. saw me off in a terrific thunderstorm. Tho’ station so near we got v. wet. I arrived home in time to get dinner ready.

26th. Daniel’s birthday. C. and Joe moving to ‘The Glen’, Burley Woodhead, and very cold. We have had 2 surprizes this week—points rationing ended with no warning (i.e. biscuits, tins of beans, meat etc.) and to-day petrol rationing after 10 years, is to cease to-morrow. (Only sweets rationed now and meat and fats and sugar.) However the price lately rose to 3/- a gallon, so one will still have to be careful! In 1951 went up to 4/½!

Rosemary, Jonathan and Jeremy came on Friday evening May 26th. I met them with car.

27th. The children all had a riding lesson in the morning. River (with tea) in aft. Terribly windy and cold. Even F. rowed a little. It was not a success.

29th. Whit Monday. F. to Y.M. and stayed night with Rob. and B. Jon. to cricket match at Erleigh. Aft. we and Joyse to Sonning—tea at Lock House. Fearful business getting car out of the crush.

30th. Rosemary went home in aft. All 3 had riding in morning. Martin Bowen came to tea one day—he and Jon. get on well—we did various things and J. and J. went home on 2nd of July (June). It has been lovely having the 3 children. They are all so sweet and affectionate.

June

9th. R. and B. for long week-end.

10th. Started about 11.0 in car (lovely hot day) for Lambourne valley. Rob. had bathe on way in Kennet canal before Newbury. Lunch near stream near Boxford. Finally got to the ‘White Horse’ and went right up in car, nearly to top. Grand view. Home after cup of tea and biscuits in a cottage at Uffingham. Woman refused payment—remarkable in these days, but was given 2/6 for the children—cottage very dark and no water laid on yet, but had electricity. Over 80 miles. R. tired!

13th. Stayed one night at Ruth’s very happily. Julia said "I do love you so Granny"—it encourages me, for I feel so useless.

17th. Tea at Ella’s with Catherine to celebrate Ella’s 80th birthday. Took F. to Pendragon to refugee children’s party in car, but stayed only short time.

The war between North and South Korea began last week in June I think, ‘UNO’ went to help the South. It is terrifying.

29th. Really enjoyable Book Club at Duncan Wood’s "An Inspector Calls". F. was the inspector. All readers very good.

July

10th. Monday. Went to London with F. and caught 12.45 train to Bradford. Managed to get good seats, tho’ train full. Joe met us and took us in taxi to other station, then we (not Joe) went by train to Burley. Here Brigitte (Marlies’s sister) and Kath. met us and we drove to "The Glen" Woodhead where C. and Joe moved to on May 24th, I think. Joe there having come on his auto-cycle and C. rushed out with baby Robert Andrew. It was fearfully exciting. It had rained a bit, but we went round the large garden, saw the stream and beautiful views, round the extremely nice, well planned house, etc. Caro gave us such a lovely welcome, Joe too. Katharine very friendly like a lovely little fairy, and the baby sweet with a pretty smile. Brigitte a very nice, helpful girl aged 20.

We had a very happy time, though the weather might have been better, walked to Menston, nearly to Burley, on the moor, etc. and one day hired a taxi (25/-) and went (without baby and Brigitte) from 3–5.30 to Haworth and saw over the Bronte place. We did some gardening and there were visitors sometimes—Cuthbert M. drove Bowes and Bertha over for tea which was very delightful. Also we had a nice visit from Rich. Graham. Mrs. Clark next door very friendly. Caro makes most delicious meals and really spoiled us. I bathed the baby.

It is a joy to see Caro better and so much happier in this lovely place. (Only 1 bus a week, but tradespeople call). We left regretfully on Sat. 22nd and were home soon after 6.0.

30th. Sunday. Left by car at 9.0 and arrived Ruth and Sidney’s before 11.0. Had a delightful day—drove to Hadly woods in aft. but rained a bit. Children sweet as usual. Left car for R. and S. and got train home at 8.0.

August

9th. Wed. To May Gretton’s in afternoon at Oxford. Molly van Aimee there too. V. nice. Talked most of the time. Separate bedrooms.

10th. Left by taxi to station after early supper.

12th. Becks by our car to Southwold where they had a happy fortnight.

18th. R. and B. for week-end. On 19th we went by morning river steamer to Wallingford. Sandwiches on board. Pleasant, but showery. F. and I got train to Cholsey, had an hour to wait, so went walk, then train home, arriving about 6.0, ¼ hour after Joe had arrived. R., B. and I went to hear him preach at Broad St. on Sunday evening and he had to go after supper. They went on Monday.

Caro Hardie, mary and Frank Pollard at 'The Glen', probably July 1950

Caro Hardie, Mary and Frank Pollard at 'The Glen', probably July 1950

25th. F. and I by 9.4 to Ruth’s—saw her for a few mins. and then were left in charge while she went to stay at the Glen. I found cooking rather difficult, but children so sweet and good. Sidney home to lunch on Sat. and took us to Kenwood where we saw the wonderful collection of pictures. Showery.

Sunday after Lucy’s sleep in morning, all went in car to Broxbourne. Saw church and had sandwiches by the river and saw pigs fed—walked about, drove through Hoddesdon and returned home to tea.

Monday 28th. Did a little washing etc. Ruth arrived about 5.30 just as we had finished tea and then Sidney too. Children had spent most of the morning sitting in the car! We had to leave at 6.0 or just before, so reluctantly said goodbye to all and had a rather hard drive home, for nearly to Slough the traffic was awful. However we were home by 9.0 in spite of a great storm at Maidenhead.

29th. A perfect morning and we went by invitation to cottage and were given 30 lbs. plums etc and picked heather and blackberries on Tadley Common. Home to lunch. It was lovely.

30th. Caesar and Cleopatra at Rep.

September

4th. Proportional Representation meeting.

8th. Ella, F. and I tea with Joyse. Whist. Fruit salad and ice cream. Nice. R. and B. flew to Zurich, then by train and bus, etc. to Billagio to-night. They had a splendid fortnight there and at Como ? and came to see us on Friday 22nd and we heard interesting talk of their doings. On the Sat. we went to see Priestley’s "Dangerous Corner" and on Sunday to Meeting at Newbury at the Y.W.C.A. Very nice.

25th. Lydia came for a night. Delightful.

29th. F. spoke to Men’s Co-op on "My Way to Peace". They were very appreciative, and good discussion.

October

2nd–6th. Chrissie Mennell. As jolly as always, but can walk very little.

18th. W.I.L. American Negress (a Friend) quite interesting on America.

28th. Ruth and children arrived in morning and S. in aft.

November

They stayed till Nov. 1st. It was simply lovely having them. They went after lunch and Margaret arrived about 7.0.

2nd. She and I went to film "No Way Out" about a negro Dr. (Grim.) She left with F. to go to M. for S. on 3rd. It was a joy to have her. I was rather tired after so many visitors and had some backache, but it was worth it to have them!

9th. Ella and I to film "The Broken Arrow." Disappointing.

I have begun lately visiting an old blind (nearly) woman in Katesgrove Lane, once a week—Mrs. Wareham. She used to be in service in swell places and loved it!

14th. Book Club—guessing authors from passages read. I read from Browning. F. from Carlyle. At Muriel Steven’s.

15th. F. and I to film "The Wooden Horse". Not as good as I expected, tho’ the escape was marvellous.

18th. Liberal Bazaar. Made £50.

22nd.–Dec. 2nd. Festival of Christian Art. Great success. F. and I to Bach’s Mass in B Minor. V. well done.

24th. Evie, Ernest, Bertha and I lunch (given by E’s) at Vega.

25th. R. and B.—the 4 of us to "The Kingdom of God" by Sierra. Beautiful play, but I missed a lot.

28th. Hansel and Gretel.

29th. Ella and I to Dorothy Sayers’ "The Zeal of thy house" in St. Mary’s Church. Wonderfully done. About building of choir of Canterbury Cathedral in 12th century.

December.

Very cold. Harsh frosts.

6th. "Can we stop the drift to war?". Friends (Duncan Wood) and Reading Peace Committee. They (Peace C.) too communistic. This war in Korea is just terrible. Attlee has flown to talk to President Truman.

7th. Jantaculum. F. and I (and others) given tickets by "Guild of the Red Rose." A Play by G.B. Shaw. The Village wooing very good. Then beautiful carols by some students in the dark, then bags of food and coffee and then a long melodrama. We have been out a lot and want a little peace.

8th. Winifred Curtis to lunch. She is staying in London—has had a year off. V. interesting about Hobart, Holland etc. Has got her Phd degree. Got my deaf aid to-day, after waiting over 1½ years for it! It’s heavy and I don’t like it.

21st. Thursday. The Hardies arrived Reading West about 5.0 (nearly 1 hour late and waiting room so cold). There has been heaps of snow the last few days. It was glorious seeing them.

22nd. Miss Howell is coming for a fortnight to cook. I dreaded it, but she is so nice and fits in well. I pay her 1/9 an hour; she comes about 9.30, cooks dinner, cakes, etc. and a supper dish, has dinner with us and washed up. Such a help. Next few days very busy. R. and B. came on Sunday 24th to stay at Mrs. Bowen’s, New Rd., bed and breakfast.

25th. Monday. Xmas Day. Miss H. did not come yesterday, but came to-day and cooked a beautiful dinner (the chicken was 30/-!!) Joe and C. had brought ½ pint real cream from the north—the first we have had for many years, as one has not been able to buy it.

Very nice presents and so on, and pretty tree. Christingles at tea time. Carols. We have been away at Swansea and Ruth’s the last 3 Christmases, so I felt rather flustered and afraid of forgetting things.

Boxing Day. Misty and cold. R. and B., C. and Joe walked by Kennet—car to Newbury and we looked after children.

27th. R. and B. went. I not v. well, then Frank in a day or two sick etc. Joe not really well all the holiday—quite overdone. I soon recovered. Very heavy snow and impossible to do anything. Most trying.

28th. The Hardies went to Ruth’s for the day by train.

P.S. F’s present to me—a big sort of shopping bag I had chosen myself. Mine to him very dull—stuff (lotion) for putting on after shaving.

 

1951

January

2nd. Miss Howell left.

3rd. Joe had to go home but C. not well, so she and children stayed longer which is lovely.

6th. C., F. and Katharine to Friends party. All enjoyed it. Baby very good with me.

7th. Sun. C. to Meeting at last and K. to children’s meeting.

8th. Mrs. Hopkins and Jan and Robin Malone to tea.

9th. Alas, C. and the children went. Katharine had taken rather long to settle and is now so sweet and affectionate and good, but rather wistful, not seeming over well. Baby is splendid, standing a lot and so good tempered with a sweet smile. I went with them to London by 11.0 train, we had taxi to King’s X—train in already, so sat in it and ate sandwiches, and I saw them off at 1.28. Heard later they got on well, and Joe met them at Bradford after 6.0.

I went to Ruth’s and she was surprized to see me. Happy visit. Next few days cleared up and went to see various people.

25th. I went to see a barge at Shepperton. Fortunately it would not do to live in!

February

3rd. Frightful weather. R. and B. for week-end. I am not licensing the car for Jan, Feb. and March. Actually one day Frank came back from town with particulars of a house he has seen at Martin & Pole’s, at Eversley. I was astonished. We want to move near one of the children, but not London, and Ruth and S. can’t find a house at a reasonable price and Bradford and Swansea are so far away. However his doing that (we were going to see it, but it was already sold) started me on seriously looking for a house.

7th. My 76th birthday. Frank gave me lovely tulips and "Barriers Down" by Elizabeth Fox Howard. He had tried to get also one of Maria Edgeworth’s , I think ‘Castle Rackrent’ but couldn’t. The children all gave me lovely things as always.

Poor Ruth and the children all got influenza and before she was well, Lucy started measles, then Daniel, then Julia. I went up one day to try and help. Lucy looked very ill and so thin. I went another day in the afternoon and found R. ironing. She said "I was thinking about you and wished you would come." I stayed one night, but did not like to leave F. longer.

17th. Sat. F. and I to London—first to see R.’s offices (in the same building). They are really lovely. Beatrice there and Thomas Stallabrass. Then taxi to Vega where R. gave us an excellent lunch, then to good seats in stalls to see "The Second Mrs. Tanqueray." A most enjoyable day. Home just after 7.0 and found May Gretton and Molly Van Aimee here. Very nice.

18th. Meeting—very bad day. May and Molly to Caversham Br. Hotel and came back in evening. They left next morning for London. I think F. sang Mohoes [Mohocs?] Field and Ethiopia.

19th. Monday. The last Book Club F. and I were at together at the Millers. "Critics and Criticism". F. gave a very interesting talk on it. I read one or two short passages.

22nd. F. to Woodbrooke for the night.

March

3rd. F. and I to see house at Wokingham. Awful.

6th. Tues. F. and I to the Hermitage, Totland Bay, taking the Beck family. F. did not much want to go away, but it has been such a long, dreary winter and I felt it would be good to have a change, especially for the Becks. We had a long wait at Basingstoke and joined the Becks there. Arrived early aft. in I.o.W. Crossing great fun to Yarmouth—then taxi. Hermitage (Mrs. Gallop and Mr. and Mrs. Jacob) a wonderfully comfortable place and excellent food. 5 guineas each adult for a week, children ½ price. 3 acres of lovely garden, a games room, most comfortable drawing room with huge fire. We got out every day, but the weather was very bad and not good for F. though he went a few walks. I did not sleep well and did not feel very well and he had a cold. We left on the 13th and parted from the Becks at Basingstoke. It was lovely having them with us and I hope did them good. I felt headachy and sick. Home to tea which Joyse had put ready for us and glad to be back. She put hot bottles in our bed. Extension Committee here.

14th. I went to see house in Herndean Rd. We would not have liked it.

15th. Thursday. Auction at 3.0 at G.W.R. Hotel. I had cough, but had to go with Frank. Bidding went to £2750 and we might perhaps have got it for £2800, but I whispered (stupidly) "say £3000) and we got it for that. Auctioneer said it was a bargain. F. signed the contract himself and then went to public library, I to tell some agents we had got a house, and we met at the bus stop and got home to tea, I think I to bed and F. to M.M. and long committee about getting up a peace meeting (Peace with China meeting). I was feverish and had bad cough, so F. got Dr. Field on 16th. Stayed in bed all day.

17th. F. brought me tea and toast. He had to light the kitchen fire and came upstairs worn out, saying "don’t speak to me yet". He sat on sofa with his back to me looking so frail and pathetic. He said he had pain and as the Dr. had been going to come for his usual visit in 2 days time he asked him to come to-day instead. Dr. Berry came late morning, but said his heart was much as usual—now looking back, I think this was a warning. F. thought perhaps it was indigestion and I gave him milk of magnesia tables either then or next day.

18th. Sunday. F. feverish 100° I think, so I got up, but was not as nice as I should have been.

19th. Sent for Dr. Roulston came and did not seem to find heart bad. Sent medicine for the fever I suppose. Frightful weather and so depressing. At 4.45—5 F. listened on wireless to a selection of J.S. Mill’s letters 1806–1873. He said it was very interesting. He had a great admiration for John Stuart Mill.

I don’t remember much about the 20th. We had been reading ‘Emma’ aloud and loved it—he read it to me while I was not well and I think I finished it to him. He was reading "This House shall stand" by Winifred Hawarden, a book I liked, but I don’t think he cared for it much, but I read it a bit to him. He was not trying to shave—I believe each day he smoked a very little and did a crossword.

21st. Wednesday. Our last happy day together. I had all meals upstairs, except perhaps dinner, and we had coffee and toast for breakfast. We have been reading his letters to me; they are perfectly beautiful and many very interesting and he has enjoyed them. Temp. below normal, so I felt encouraged, but during morning he looked very ill. Ella called and I said "I feel as if we would never get to that house together". However I went to visit a poor woman Mrs. Wareham and came back by the Green to get F. some soda water. In afternoon Jarvis sent to make the car useable again and F. was interested. I gave F. a tiny bit of fish and potato for dinner and he said it was lovely, but his tongue was very bad, so it can’t have been really. He said "I hate bothering thee so," but I said "Thou knows I love looking after thee." He drank a good deal of soda and lemon barley.

We had a little tea and after I washed up and went to post we played 1 game of "Chinese" and then I started to read to him. I was just finishing a rather tragic chapter where the husband has lost his wife—she left him as his mother said she was not his station socially, but they so loved each other, when I looked up. Frank was sitting bolt upright looking ill. I said "What’s the matter dearest?" He said "I have a sharp sudden pain—I think it’s the end." He lay back and never spoke again. It was about ¼ to 7 and I kissed him and told him I loved him, my precious, then Miss Ruthven telephoned for Dr. Berry. He came in about 10 mins. and gave him an injection, but it was useless. He said Frank was unconscious but after he went for a long time he moaned and tossed about and occasionally opened his eyes and stared. Joyse came and we did what we could—hot bottle etc. and at last I think about 9.0 he turned on his side and died peacefully and looked oh, so lovely. He was the light of my life and the sunshine of my heart, and we have had nearly 47 years of such happiness together. While Dr. Berry was there I telephoned to Beatrice to get Robert to come and to tell the others. I believe he arrived about 10.0 and he was so sweet and loving. Dr. Berry came again and was v. kind. We went to bed, but I did not sleep and at about 4.40 a.m. on 22nd kind Margaret arrived. She started at once after getting the news and had to walk from the station. After talking she lay down in her clothes in Robert’s room. Ruthie arrived soon after breakfast, leaving the children with Sidney. It had been difficult to get in touch with Caro as they are not on the telephone, and finally Beatrice did it through the police and a telegram. Beatrice arrived in afternoon. Kind Evie came in morning from Sydenham. Robert arranged everything and Heilas sent a man and a woman and they did Frank and I think a little later he was put in the coffin. I loved going to see him and kiss him and he did look so peaceful and beautiful.

23rd. Good Friday. Poured. Robert wrote about F. for the ‘Friend’. He, M. Ruthie and I went to see "Hawarden." They liked it. We sang "Father in thy holy mercy" before going to bed. C. arrived about 11.40 p.m.

24th. Saturday. Fine, but very cold wind. We joined in a beautiful wreath of daffodils, freesias and other spring flowers—other lovely flowers came. Caro printed 2 cards, one for the wreath, the other for snowdrops from their garden. The latter was Isaiah 61, verse 11. Matthew Arnold for the wreath from Lines written in Kensington Gardens "Calm soul of all things! Make it mine To feel amid the city’s jar That there abides a peace of thine, Man did not make and cannot mar." The funeral was at the Crematorium at 3.30. Robert walked with me. The service was beautiful: Harry Jackson (I couldn’t hear it all unfortunately), Walter Bentley, Mr. Milligan read the 23rd psalm and Howard Smith spoke beautifully. Evie and Ernest and Mabel, Bowes, Bill and Kate and Harry all came to tea here and were so kind. Margaret and Ruthie had made cakes etc.

After tea in a hurry R. B. Caro and I motored to Hawarden, as all the children wanted to see the house. Ruthie had to go home after tea. All the children have been wonderfully good and kind and thoughtful, and it has been a great shock and sorrow to them too for they dearly loved their Father.

Sunday 25th. Marg. had to go before 11.00. I motored her to station and saw her into the train and then returned for Caro, who went about 11.30, she would not get home till 7.0 I think, but Mr. Beaumont met her and motored her back. R. and B. went to Meeting which they said was nice, all about hope. We went a drive to Eversley and saw the outside of Kingsley’s house and the church. Worked at F’s papers, etc. Before bed, Robert read 3 suitable passages to us.

Easter Monday, 26th. I am getting heaps of letters all full of praise of my beloved, his wise judgement, tolerance, clear thinking and so on. Many also had learnt to love him, and many feel there is no one to take his place. At last M.M. Margaret says someone said at Meeting for Sufferings to her I think, he had the best brain of anyone in the Society of Friends.

R. B. and I spent the morning over letters and papers. Very tiring. We drove to Dorchester Abbey and had a little tea in the car, but coming home it pelted all the way. Worked again till 9.0 I think.

27th. Worked again. R. and B. have been invaluable. They had to go by the 1.30 and I drove back and am now desolate but they telephoned in the evening.

Wed. 28th. A week ago my darling died. I have lived through it all again and have wept and wept.

29th. May Gretton came from Oxford to see me and was sweet.

I have had visits from Dorothy Brain, Edith Smith, Mrs. Eric Smith etc.

30th. Kind Margaret came to help me, and Jonathan and Jeremy. She was invaluable, worked all day. Children sweet and no trouble. Weather v. bad and so cold—rain still nearly every day.

April

3rd. We drove to Hawarden and it was fine for a bit.

6th. M. went to M. for S. We met her at Reading Station at 2.40 and children went home with her. She said heaps of people spoke beautifully about Frank. Colin Fawcett says yesterday was the biggest Peace Committee there has been for a long time and it was very "moving".

7th. Sat. R. and B. came and were most kind and helpful.

8th. We all went to Meeting. Colin said, in speaking (without mentioning his name) that Frank who never sought popularity was the most loved person in Reading Meeting. Aft. we drove to Burghclere in pouring rain to see Stanley Spencer’s frescoes in a private chapel. Then to Hawarden to meet Reid the builder and ate and drank tea from thermos there at 5.30.

What a winter! It began before Xmas and has rained almost every day since, or snowed. It snowed on April 9th I think. R. and B. left early in morning.

 

(written in 1952)

I came here (Hawarden) on May 1st 1951 and Margaret helped me to move and was quite invaluable—in 3 days she had made it like a home and all was nearly straight. Chrissie Mennell has been at Cintra Ave. and sewn curtains, etc. I don’t know what I would have done without Margaret. We moved on a Tuesday. She left early Sat. aft. and R. and B. came for the week-end. Joyse mostly lived with me—the summer was only fair weather. Ruth, Sidney and Lucy and Benjamin (latter only 2 or 3 months old) came August 28th–31st—had a few bathes in pool. The Dales (except Rowland) camped near me 14th–21st which was lovely, and Caro and the children came September 8th–13th—then to Swansea and back here on 20th. Joe came on 27th and they all went on 30th. It was lovely having these various visitors.

(In Oct. I had a week at ?Fortie with Evie and Ernest.)

 

1952

August 30th. Hawarden, Burghfield.

I have never had the heart to write since my beloved Frank died and in about a fortnight I am going to live at Burnside, Menston to be near Caro and Joe and the children. I found it hard to decide whether to go there or St. Albans.

It was a cold winter—pool frozen hard. I was ill with a chill and later on Feb. 7th taken really ill with rheumatism. Joyse very good to me, and Marg. came with Jeremy for a few days. (I had spent Xmas at Bath with B. and B.)

In May 20th–June 4th I went to Caro’s and nearly bought a bungalow. That unsettled me and I decided to leave Hawarden—the place F. thought "my friends will be amused at the name" (Gladstone’s home). Joyse very unhappy about it. (Joe, C. and I had been on Whit Monday to B. and B’s Golden Wedding celebrations.)

It has been a glorious, hot summer and the garden, with most meals out, delightful, but it’s too big and such heavy soil and I hope I’m right to leave, though I do so like the kindly country people and my woman Mrs. Ford who is so kind, and Mr. Clark my gardener.

I shall greatly miss R. and B’s visits almost every 6 weeks and Margaret’s short 1 night ones when she goes to M. for S. and I shall miss Joyse, but it will be so lovely to be near (tho’ 2 miles off) a daughter. All the family are so good and kind to me—far more than I deserve and I only hope I can help them a little, whether near or far.

Mary Pollard in the pool at Hawarden, 28 June 1952

Mary Pollard in the pool at Hawarden, 28 June 1952

 

[Transcript by Lucy R. Beck, with her permission.]

 


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